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Full text of "A history of Persia"

270                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
results became plainly visible. This splendid service to
Christendom was entirely the work of Portugal, which was
the first European power to appear in the Persian Gulf.1
The Importance of .Hormuz.—The port of Hormuz, the
Ormus of Milton, mentioned by Marco Polo (see Chapter
LVIL), and situated some six miles to the south-west of
Minab, was of great commercial importance. Not long
after the return journey of the Venetian the emporium
was bodily transferred to the neighbouring island of Jerun
for greater security, retaining there its old name, and it
flourished amazingly for two centuries under Arab rulers,
whose dominions also included Maskat and other posses-
sions. The following description of the island by Pedro
Teixeira, who visited it in A.D. 1587, deserves to be
quoted : " This Isle of Jerun was of old volcanic, for
which reason it remains so rugged as to amaze the explorer
of its interior. It has a lofty range of hills running east
and west from the sea to sea. From the foot of this to
the * northern promontory, whereon stands the fortified
city, there is a less rugged plain. But beyond the main
range there is nothing but lesser ranges, separate hills, and
a rugged wilderness/'2 Teixeira goes on to state that there
was no fresh water in the island except rain-water collected
in cisterns. It seems extraordinary that a city should
have flourished in spite of such drawbacks, but the testi-
mony on the subject is unanimous. For example, in
A.D. 1442, Abdur Razzak, whose description of the sea
has been quoted in Chapter II., states that Hormuz, which
cc is a port situated in the middle of the sea, has not its
equal on the surface of the globe." In A.D. 1504 Ludovico
di Varthema, whose travels have been published by the
Hakluyt Society, also refers to it as " the noble city of
Ormuz, which is extremely beautiful." The description
is borne out by the Persian proverb : " If the world were
a ring, Hormuz would be the jewel of that ring."
The First Portuguese Expedition against Hormuz^ A.D.
1507.—Greatest among the great Portuguese captains
, iffi'Plde Whiteway's Rise of the Portuguese Power in India.
' * Travels of Pedro Texeira, p, 164. Ed. by Sinclair and Ferguson for the Haklqyt
Society. We owe to this traveller a translation of the history of the Kings of Horxnuz
and .also of Mirjfchond's history, referred to in Chapter LXII.